7 Health and Beauty Trends to Avoid While Pregnant or Trying to Conceive

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Photos of gorgeous celebrities or ageless models overwhelm social media feeds, selling the latest health and beauty trends. It can be confusing to know what is hype and what is healthy, especially when you are trying to conceive (TTC) or are pregnant. As with most of what shows up on social media, take all health and beauty advice with a dose of skepticism. Stay safe by scrolling past these seven healthy and beauty trends that are anything BUT healthy while TTC or pregnant.

  1. Jade Eggs

Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop advocated inserting so-called yoni eggs into your vagina to improve your pelvic floor muscle tone and improve your sex life. Too bad these porous stone eggs can harbor harmful bacteria pregnant women or women TTC definitely don’t want in their vaginas. Plus, there is no scientific evidence that sustained contraction of your pelvic floor muscles (what you need to do to hold the egg in your vagina) has any benefits in terms of pelvic floor strength or sexual response. Leave all foreign items outside of your vagina until you have checked with your OBGYN if you are TTC or pregnant, just to be on the safe side.

  1. Botox

In the eternal quest for youth or at least a youthful appearance, women are going for the “jab” younger and younger. That means that you may be wanting to continue with your Botox schedule through IVF or your pregnancy. Unfortunately, there have been no well-controlled studies of the safety of Botox during pregnancy or infertility treatment. Therefore, OBGYNs can not reassure you that Botox (or fillers) are 100% safe during pregnancy. What we do know is that at higher doses, Botox causes birth defects and miscarriages in animals. So, while the promise of wrinkle-free skin is appealing, best to learn to love your wrinkles while becoming a mom.

  1. Hot Yoga

There are various kinds of hot yoga, of which Bikram yoga is probably the best well known. While A-rod, Hailey Beiber, and Jennifer Anniston may love sweating it out in 100-degree yoga studios, hot yoga is not safe for pregnant women or women TTC. Raising your core body temperature too high can potentially cause birth defects in the first trimester and dangerous levels of dehydration in mom. Wait for your sweat session until after your delivery, and opt for a prenatal yoga class instead.

  1. Keto Diets

Reportedly tried by Kim Kardashian, Rhiana, and Gwyneth Paltrow, the keto diet (short for ketogenesis) is bad news for pregnant women. To achieve the successful weight loss promised by the diet, you’ll have to cut out too many nutritious foods from your diet. The keto diet preaches that 70-90% of daily calories should come from protein or dietary fat to jump-start your metabolism to break down your fat stores. Beyond the carb-phobic paranoia that such a restrictive diet instills, it is downright dangerous when pregnant. Why?

Firstly, the keto diet bans many carbohydrate-loaded fruits and vegetables that can be essential sources of minerals and vitamins for women. A healthy pregnancy diet needs to contain various foods for optimum nutrition while TTC and once pregnant.

A second risk of the keto diet is that research into ketogenesis during pregnancy is still limited, with very few high-quality clinical studies in humans. As a result, researchers have cautioned that there’s still a lot we don’t know about how high-fat, low-carb eating impacts long-term health.

  1. A Juice Cleanse

Touted by Miranda Kerr and Jessica Alba for beauty benefits and quick slimming effects, juice cleanses should be avoided in pregnancy or when TTC. Juice cleanses are too restrictive from a calorie and a nutrient perspective. Your body requires an adequate supply of lean protein and healthy fats to grow a baby and be in the healthiest possible state if you are trying to conceive. Additionally, bacteria from dirty fruits and vegetables can make you sick, so if you are upping your juice game, be sure to juice at home only, where you can be sure to wash all germs away.

  1. The 16/8 Diet

A variation on the current diet fad of intermittent fasting, the 16/8 diet advises its followers to fast for 16 long hours before eating whatever they eat for the remaining 8 hours. Vanessa Hudgens, Halle Berry, and Hugh Jackman claim that waiting until mid-afternoon to eat their first meal helps them maintain their Instagram-worthy figures. Following an intermittent fasting routine may be helpful if it allows you to lose weight to increase your fertility and ovulate more regularly. However, once pregnant, diets like the 16/8 diet are bad medicine. No kind of intermittent fasting is recommended during pregnancy because your growing baby needs a constant, even supply of glucose in your bloodstream to grow and develop. Fasting during pregnancy could lead to drops in blood pressure and blood sugar, causing you to faint.

  1. Hair Straightening Treatments

Brazilian Blowouts and other hair treatments designed to smooth and straighten naturally curly, kinky, or wavy hair contain a cocktail of chemicals. Not only are they bad for your hair and scalp, but many of these chemicals are toxic to the eggs in your ovary or a developing fetus. The most dangerous of all is formaldehyde, a carcinogen shown to cause genetic and birth defects in lab animals. So follow OBGYNs’ advice and embrace your curly natural state at least for the nine months of pregnancy.

For sure, there are more than seven health and beauty trends you are scrolling through and wondering whether or not they are safe to try while pregnant or TTC. Trying to conceive and pregnancy can be a time of opportunity for many women to adopt healthier lifestyles, but all within reason. Remember your doctor or midwife is the best person to turn to for answers about what changes to try during your reproductive years. Health and beauty trends come and go, so make sure to research reputable medical sources before trying anything drastic.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a certified nurse-midwife with a Master's Degree in Maternal and Child Health from Harvard Chan School of Public Health. Her passions are health literacy and women's reproductive health. A recent two-year sabbatical with her family in Spain was the impetus for becoming a freelance women's health writer. An exercise nut, she is happiest outdoors and on adventures abroad.

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